As the 2014 elections approach, Democrats are supposedly in trouble because the Obama bubble has supposedly burst. An unpopular President, the media drones, a failed presidency. Reporters are quick to detect any secret sign that a candidate is "running away" from the President. As somebody smarter than that has pointed out, Democrats who run away from the President are fools. First, they are Democrats and they are going to be identified with a Democratic President anyway. And second, they'll alienate the very Democrats who gave Barack Obama two big majorities.
But there are contrarians out there who beg to differ with the premise. One of them is Paul Krugman writing in Rolling Stone. First of all, he takes issue with the idea that Obama is all that unpopular:
"Yes, Obama has a low approval rating compared with earlier presidents. But there are a number of reasons to believe that presidential approval doesn't mean the same thing that it used to: There is much more party-sorting (in which Republicans never, ever have a good word for a Democratic president, and vice versa), the public is negative on politicians in general, and so on. Obviously the midterm election hasn't happened yet, but in a year when Republicans have a huge structural advantage – Democrats are defending a disproportionate number of Senate seats in deep-red states – most analyses suggest that control of the Senate is in doubt, with Democrats doing considerably better than they were supposed to. This isn't what you'd expect to see if a failing president were dragging his party down."
So much for the bubble popularity. He continues:
"More important, however, polls – or even elections – are not the measure of a president. High office shouldn't be about putting points on the electoral scoreboard, it should be about changing the country for the better. Has Obama done that? Do his achievements look likely to endure? The answer to both questions is yes."
Krugman wasn't an Obama enthusiast and has criticized some of his actions as President. But after 6 years he's taken the long view:
"Despite bitter opposition, despite having come close to self-inflicted disaster, Obama has emerged as one of the most consequential and, yes, successful presidents in American history. His health reform is imperfect but still a huge step forward – and it's working better than anyone expected. Financial reform fell far short of what should have happened, but it's much more effective than you'd think. Economic management has been half-crippled by Republican obstruction, but has nonetheless been much better than in other advanced countries. And environmental policy is starting to look like it could be a major legacy."
Read the piece. It may cheer you or change your mind. There's a companion list for the text averse:55 figures that prove President Obama has accomplished more than you may realize.
|President Obama hugs a nurse who survived Ebola|
And there's a different article that takes an overview of Obama's accomplishments in rolling back the rabid right Republican takeover of the judiciary. This one may surprise you even more--it's by one of the best in the business, Jeffrey Toobin in the New Yorker, and it includes an interview with the President.
Meanwhile, major Republican candidates are trying hard to hide how extreme they actually are. And failing. Look no farther than Colorado. And the polls say she is ahead. I don't pretend to understand what's going on in voters heads in these states. But Democrats need to get their brains out of the bubble and their heads back up where they belong, and get to the polls. We've got a President. Don't let him down.